Blogs  |  1.4.2016

30 Years Inspiring the Future

Lisa Vernal, VP, Communications & Center Relations


January 28, 2016 marks 30 years since the loss of the Challenger Crew. In the aftermath of the accident, the crew’s families came together, firmly committed to the belief that they must carry on the spirit of their loved ones by continuing the educational mission. It was in April of 1986, just three months after the accident, that those courageous families created Challenger Center.

The initial plan was for one Challenger Learning Center – a place where kids could learn about the importance of science and math and experience the wonder and awe of space exploration. But it was support and encouragement from then Vice President George H.W. Bush and many others who gave the families the confidence to grow that vision into something much more. The legacy of the Challenger Crew would live on and give even more children around the world a chance to take part in something truly special.

Now, 30 years later, with an international footprint across 3 continents, 4 countries, and 27 states, we have more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers that have combined to reach over 4.4 million students.

Our Centers follow in the footsteps of those seven astronauts, a crew that demonstrated a commitment to being innovators in both their work and personal lives. We continue to inspire students to see their full potential and follow a path that leads to a career in the STEM industry. Never before has there been such a great need for qualified talent in the STEM industry, an industry that also happens to be critical to the success of our society. Never before has our mission been more important.

Join us as we honor the Challenger crew, celebrate three decades of inspiration, and make an even greater impact in STEM education over the next 30 years. The Challenger STS 51-L crew was inspiring the future. Thirty years later, we proudly continue that work each and every day.